Leon County public school teacher and former House candidate Josh Johnson has filed to run for Nick Maddox’s At Large seat on the Leon County Commission.
Johnson, a Tallahassee native and two-time Florida A&M University graduate, currently teaches government and economics at Amos P. Godby High School. He is also the president of the board of directors of 621 Gallery, a Tallahassee local arts nonprofit.
Johnson said in a release announcing his candidacy that his main priorities will be protecting local natural resources, restoring the public trust, and developing Tallahassee’s local workforce and promoting small business growth. He added that he is running to represent the interests of people he believes are ignored by the local government process.
“I’m rooted in my community, I’m ready to serve, and like so many folks across Leon County — I’m ready for a new day in our local government,” Johnson wrote. “Year after year, we see the same powerful interests get special treatment while the people, organizations and neighborhoods that need help the most get left behind.”
In his announcement, Johnson was critical of the decision by the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency Board — which consists of Leon County and City of Tallahassee elected officials — to allocate $20 million in sales tax dollars to fund renovations to Florida State University’s Doak S. Campbell Stadium. He also criticized other aspects of local growth management.
“Whether it’s $20+ million in sales tax dollars diverted to a football stadium project instead of supporting small businesses, reckless taxpayer subsidies for Blueprint mega-projects that hinder smart growth and affordable housing, or a broken growth management process that benefits big landowners at the expense of our precious trees and neighborhoods — it’s time for new leadership and new priorities,” he wrote.
Maddox, who currently holds the seat and has filed for re-election, has backed the stadium funding. Johnson, as well as candidates in other Tallahassee races looking to unseat incumbents, have mobilized to make opposition to the funding a pillar of their campaign efforts.
This is not Johnson’s first time running for public office. He previously ran for the House District 9 seat in 2016, but lost in the Primary against current legislator, Sen. Loranne Ausley.